Today is Trinity Sunday and so I think it is useful to ask the question today - Do Christians believe in one God or Three Gods?
What do we mean when we recite the Creed in the Communion service?
What do you mean? Do you believe in one God or three Gods?
St Augustine of Hippo took nearly 30 years of his matured life to write 15 volumes called “About the Trinity” and was constantly updating and revising his work. Which proves he was an academic theologian; they tend to make simple things complicated. My task today is to try and make the complicated simple.
What makes one whole person? A person, a human being, you, are made up of 3 parts, a physical body, a spirit (spiritual body), and a soul (containing your memories and emotions). Scientists can argue with that as much as they like, but that is how most of us view ourselves and I have multiple reasons for reaching that conclusion.
The Bible says (Genesis 1:26) we are all made in the image of God. Yet physically we are generally all unique? God the Father is Spirit so our spirits all resemble His. His physical body is Jesus the Son, His soul is the Holy Spirit. While the New Testament authors didn’t write or refer to God as “The Trinity” (The phase had not yet been thought up). They did actually in a few places, refer to God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit as separate but all still God. John’s gospel in particular got deeply theological (John 14:9, 11).
While we are more limited than God because we live in a material, 3 dimensional state, God is all powerful with no limits, other than those He set for Himself, so each of the parts that make up God can function far more independently than ours do, but are still equal in purpose, intention and power and still make up One God, just as the 3 parts of us make up One whole person.
To confuse the issue just a little, the book of Revelation talks about the 7 spirits of God, and God refers to himself in a couple of places in the Old and New Testaments by the plural, “we”. He likes to be mysterious. Augustine apparently realised that he was trying to fit the great mysteries of God into a mind, which could only hold a drop in a bucket compared to the great ocean of God. I don’t think we are meant to know everything. Some of us can’t handle the Truth, even the small inconvenient amount of Truth we know.
So why is it important - you might ask - whether or not we believe in the Trinity.
I would like to suggest to you that the reason is because our salvation hangs on the fact that Jesus is fully God as well as being fully human. Confused yet? If you don’t get it, just remember He loves you, love and obey Him and you’ll be fine.